Tag Archives | osteoporosis

Hormone Linked to Menopausal Weight Gain

Finally, we have some promising research into the why of (and hopefully soon, the remedy for) menopausal weight gain. And it doesn’t have to do with calories or lack of exercise or all the other causes postulated up until now. As nearly every menopausal woman knows, dieting and increasing exercise often do little to help with the meno pot. It’s deeply demoralizing and can make one want to just give up.

During perimenopause and menopause, estrogen levels drop but levels of FSH, follicle stimulating hormone, remain high. This mismatch has been associated not only with weight gain but bone loss as well. FSH is the hormone that helps the egg develop and ripen in your ovary just prior to ovulation. These levels drop just after ovulation and increase again prior to the next ovulation.

Just prior to and during menopause, FSH levels remain elevated. Hence the weight gain and weird fat distribution coupled with bone loss.

A new study published in Nature has examined the use of an antibody to block FSH in female mice thrown into menopause when their ovaries were removed. They were fed a high fat diet, yet lost weight, upped their metabolism, and gained bone mass. While this is exciting news, the next step will be to try the experiment in larger animals, then humans. We may be some years away from realizing any benefits from this research but at the very least, we can feel vindicated.

That said, our best bet right now is healthy eating and continuing to move! Weight training with light weights, stretching, and walking will keep us at our optimal fitness level. We can eat less meat, more healthy carbs like quinoa or brown rice, and healthy fats such as almonds, legumes, and avocados. Oh, and a little dark chocolate and wine, just sayin’!

Read more at Medical News Bulletin.

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5 Ideal Workouts for Women Over 50

Sunny Day © lynette sheppard

In this guest post by Perly Rodolfo, she shares tips and ideas for creating an exercise program to keep healthy as we age. It’s simple, not necessarily easy – especially to keep motivated. My pal, Dee Adams, cartoonist creator of Minnie Pauz, started out slowly – just walking every day. She lost weight and gained fitness (and she took some mighty fine photos on her morning walks every day.) And if/when we backslide? No recriminations, just start again.

5 Ideal Workouts for Women Over 50 by Perly Rodolfo

Even if you don’t exercise regularly now, it is important to know that there is still plenty of time for you to initiate your workout program.

And if you are in your 50’s or older, becoming physically active is advantageous for your health. Staying fit as you age is a necessity rather than an option.

Many women suffer from menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, joint pain, sleeping disorders. But, did you know that a physically inactive lifestyle can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis? A sedentary lifestyle can also cause emotional problems, even a midlife crisis.

Experts suggest that middle aged women who exercise more have a biological age of 35. This is the reason why you often see celebrities and athletes who are over 50 to be more energetic, fit and healthy.

To reduce your risk of disease and have a healthy life beyond the age of 50, you will want to embark upon a complete fitness program that is ideal to your age.

Without further ado, here are 5 ideal workouts for women over 50:

Aerobic Exercises
Aerobic exercises are perfect for women over 50 as most of the moves are not stressful, less intense and are common workouts at home. This type of exercise focuses on your large muscles benefiting your cardiovascular health as well as keeping your weight in check.

Some of the best aerobic exercises that you can do are walking, swimming, dancing, jogging, cardio machines as well as many others. If you prefer a more advanced exercise, you can try hiking, Zumba dance classes, boxing or other anaerobic exercises (aerobic exercises that are performed at a level of intensity).

Stretching
Stretching exercises focus on your flexibility to help maintain a healthy range of motion in your joints. Doing stretches before and after your regular workout helps reduce the risk of injuries and muscle soreness.  Some of the best stretching exercises for women over 50 are yoga and pilates. These forms of exercise help improve core body strength, increase stability and elevate mental power.

Strength Training
Lifting weights may seem too difficult and dangerous to middle aged women due to the risk of various possible injuries associated with incorrect strength training exercises. But lifting light hand weights can significantly improve your strength and posture, maintains bone strength and reduces your risk of lower back injury.

Above all, lifting weights that give tension on your arms results in a more toned and fit body. This means that lifting weights can burn more fat and in a much faster rate than any other regular exercise. You can start with hand weights that you can comfortably lift for eight repetitions initially. Increases reps until you can do 12 for each routine.

Core and Balance Exercises
Maintaining a strong core and a stable balance will help protect your spine and hips.  For these exercises, you need core equipment such as stability balls and half-round balls. You can use this equipment to help improve your abs, glutes and hips.

Abdominal exercises such as crunches and planks require some perseverance and patience especially if you are a beginner. Doing both balance and core workouts will give you optimal results out of your overall workout program.

Respiration and Relaxation
Women over 50 are not the same as young adult women in their 30’s. Your lung capacity begins to decrease during the aging process.

This results in weakening of your bronchioles and alveoli air sacs, lungs, diaphragm and intercostal muscles.
So how can you improve and maintain a healthy respiratory system? Aerobic exercises and the other exercises mentioned above can certainly help. But breathing exercises are the best. Tai chi is one of the most perfect breathing exercise programs for women over 50.

Tai chi basically helps improve overall well-being – mental, physical and emotional state. Plus, this breathing technique is simple and easy with no extra equipment required.

Conclusion
Remember that every bit of movement counts. Doing household chores or just walking your dog  can be helpful to your workout program. Take  vitamin D to help support your bone and joint health. Above all, follow a healthy and sensible dietary regimen that will support your workout.

Remember, age is just a number and you can prevent many of the signs of aging by just performing simple exercises at home.

Author Bio:
Perly Rodolfo is a health and fitness enthusiast, businesswoman and a mother of two. She spends most of her time with her family and blogging about dietary supplements, healthy lifestyles and online businesses. Learn more about Perly through her website at http://www.populardietpills.net/.

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Healthy Aging For Women

This informative infographic was provided to us by our friends at the University of Florida. Once the hormonal whirlwind begins to settle for us, our attention rightly turns to how to stay healthy and vibrant throughout the aging process. While I personally don’t agree with every recommendation (giving up alcohol altogether, for example, and the jury is still out on whether estrogen replacement actually prevents heart disease since contradictory studies exist), I believe that there are some wonderful commonsense recommendations in the areas of diet, exercise, and mental health.

healthy-aging-for-women

Find out more:

Healthy Aging

Bachelor of Science in Health Education and Behavior

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Osteoporosis Facts and Tips for Prevention

Summer Aspens © lynette sheppard

Summer Aspens © lynette sheppard

May is Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. With that in mind, Dr. Mario Trucillo of American Recall Center (a brand new health and wellness news site) shares this infographic. Even though this post is occurring on the last days of May, remember it is never too late to take care of your bone health.

Osteoporosis Infographic

Osteoporosis Infographic

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Is There A Doctor In The House? Yes, At Health Tap!

Htap2

Did you ever just wish you could learn health information from the best physicians without an appointment or flying halfway around the country to visit them? Would you like a central clearing house for medical and health knowledge? Would you like to ask questions of the best physicians and get solid answers online? For Free???? Sounds like a pipe dream, I know. And yet…

I’m so excited to share with you the launch of a new web resource called Health Tap. It features health tips, updates on the latest findings, info that includes complementary and integrative medicine, healthy living, Q&A with physicians on all health topics, even daily tips for your complete health.

As a launch partner, I got to experience it before it went live generally – and to quote Steven Tyler, it is just crazy good. I was very impressed with the quality of information, and the range of expertise. And my own personal bias of including integrative health info along with standard allopathy (translation: alternative medicine along with “regular”) was  amply met.

Here’s Health Tap’s press release where they explain the features better than I can. They explain their top doctor competition where the winners are chosen by both their peers and consumers. Kind of like an Angie’s list for physicians. Read it below and hop on over to the site and/or download the apps for your mobile device.


HealthTap brings the Full Spectrum of Doctors’ Knowledge to Mobile Health

Leading mobile health platform unveils results of nationwide Top Doctor Competition, and announces new ways to interact with winning doctors and their insights.

Palo Alto, CA – April 15, 2013 – HealthTap, the only place to immediately connect with 36,000 top U.S. doctors for free, today announced an even easier, more reliable way to find the top and best doctor for you.

HealthTap unlocks the full spectrum of doctor knowledge by providing unparalleled insights into some of the country’s best medical minds through these doctors’ answers to health questions, healthy tips,and health related updates and articles.

Furthermore, on HealthTap medical help experts identify the very best doctors, through a national Top Doctor competition spanning 128 specialties in over 3,100 cities across the United States.

Today’s announcement of the winners of the HealthTap 2013 Winter Top Doctor Competition
recognizes some of the world’s best and most helpful online and mobile medical experts. Tens of thousands of doctors competed for the prestigious awards, which include: Top Doctor, Top Specialist, Most Influential Doctor, and Thought Leader Awards. Doctors judged peers based on their demonstrated medical knowledge and expertise, and consumers rated doctors on qualitative factors, such as bedside manner and personality.

Winners from the competition include:
Dr. Michael Sparacino, a Family Medicine doctor from Saint Peter, MN who won the National TopDoctor Award for helping over 29 million people!

Dr. George Klauber, a Pediatric Urologist from Boston, MA who won the Thought Leader in
Massachusetts Award for guiding the most people to helpful answers through his comments and peer review.

Dr. Colin Kopes-Kerr, a Family Medicine doctor from Marysville, CA who won the Most Influential Doctor in the Nation Award for connecting with both patients and doctors and providing valuable education and support.

Dr. Maritza Baez, a Family Doctor in Buffalo, NY who won the Top Family Doctor in New York for helping millions with her knowledge and care.

Dr. James W. Ferguson, a Pediatrician in Waco, TX who won the Top Pediatrician in the Nation Award for helping the most parents help their children live healthier happier lives.

Users on HealthTap can easily see what makes these doctors winners, connect with them, and learn from them for free. Through the all new HealthTap Spectrum, now a part of all HealthTap’s apps on mobile devices and online, people can find highly trusted, doctor-created and rated content, including:

• Concise doctor updates on the latest health findings
• Daily health tips created by doctors in more than 100 topics
• Quick, personalized doctor answers to health questions
• Deep Health posts where doctor share their opinions and insights
• Transparent doctor-doctor consults and dialogues

“HealthTap is putting care and trust back into healthcare by placing the doctor and patient relationship back at the center of the healthcare experience,” says HealthTap Founder and CEO Ron Gutman. “By giving top doctors a simple way to share their knowledge and opinions and get recognized by their colleagues for their expertise, and by users for their bedside manner and care, we’re creating a healthy competition that motivates the best doctors to stand out and help millions everywhere. In a world where we expect to get immediate, reliable and deep insights on movies and restaurants on our mobile devices anytime anywhere, it’s high time we have an easy way to get the same when it comes to our health and well being. With the new HealthTap Spectrum we’re leading the way to comprehensive, caring, trustworthy and high quality mobile health.”

About HealthTap
HealthTap is the best way to connect with the most trusted health information and doctors. With toprated web and mobile apps, HealthTap offers immediate and free access to personalized, reliable, and trusted health answers and tips from a network of over 36,000 U.S.-licensed doctors. Sign up today and download HealthTap’s free app for iPhone, iPad or Android at www.healthtap.com.

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Menopause and Osteoporosis: An Unfortunate Match

Meriel Anderson shares information and hope for menopausal bone health in this guest blog post. There are steps we can take right now to ensure stronger, healthier bones. Enjoy.

Aspen Strength © lynette sheppard


If you’re a woman that is approaching or has reached menopause, you may have begun to wonder about the changes going on inside of your body, both in your reproductive organs and elsewhere. One area that is currently well-known is that the hormonal changes induced by menopause can affect the strength and composition of a woman’s bone structure. These changes are believed to be one of the main causes – or perhaps the chief cause – of osteoporosis, which is a reduction in the density of bones leading to increased risk of fractures.

Let’s take a quick look at menopause and osteoporosis, including signs to watch out for, current drug therapies and some preventive measures one can start immediately.

What we Know: Hormonal Changes Accelerate Bone Loss
As mentioned above, it’s well known that the loss of hormones due to menopause – especially estrogens – can cause bone weakness. This is due to a number of reasons, but mainly because the cells that create new bone cells – known as osteoblasts – see a reduction in their workload when estrogen levels decrease. As the osteoblasts are not working as hard, bone density tends to decrease over time which leads to more fragile bone structures.

One common misconception about osteoporosis is that there are signs or symptoms that one can watch out for – but this is for the most part untrue. Women generally learn that they have osteoporosis when they suffer a bone fracture due to something that normally wouldn’t cause a break; these situations are known as “fragility fractures”. If you find that you’re suffering from constant pain in an area where it might be due to a bone fracture, be sure to consult a doctor immediately.

Therapeutic Options: Hormone Replacement and Bisphosphonates
If you are a post-menopausal woman you’ve probably already had the talk with your physician about hormone replacement therapy and why it can be effective for women who have reached menopause.

Bisphosphonates – such as Alendronate (brand name Fosamax) or Risedronate (Actonel) are the current gold standard for osteoporosis prevention and are prescribed to post-menopausal women on a regular basis. These drugs work by blocking the natural breakdown of bone cells by osteoclasts, which are the cells responsible for bone cell turnover. Current medical evidence shows that these drugs are very effective for most individuals over the first 3-5 years, with some questions remaining about effectiveness beyond this point. Regardless, it’s likely you will hear about bisphosphonates if you speak to your doctor about osteoporosis prevention.

It’s also worth mentioning that a diet high in calcium and regular exposure to the sun so the body can generate sufficient vitamin D have also been proven to help reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures; evidence is, however, inconclusive in regards to calcium supplements so it would be wise to consult your physician before supplementing your diet with calcium tablets or capsules.

Non-Drug Measures that May Help
While HRT and bisphosphonate therapies have proven to be beneficial for post-menopausal women who are at risk of osteoporosis, there are also a number of non-drug measures that are recommended to maintain healthy bones and prevent injury, including:

Regular Exercise Unfortunately you’ll hear this mantra until the day you leave this Earth: regular exercise is the most important step one can take in keeping themselves healthy. It’s not necessary to train for a marathon race or to be lifting gigantic barbells in the gym – even a half-hour walk on a daily basis will do wonders for your health. (Of course, consult your physician before undergoing any new exercise program!)

Joint, Back and Other Braces Braces, hip protectors and posture supports are an important tool in preventing fractures due to osteoporosis. A good brace can help support the weight being placed on a joint or bone structure, ensuring that the bone suffers as little stress as possible . Note that a brace or other supportive material should be fitted by a doctor, pharmacist or a medical expert who can provide assistance with selecting the correct device and size.

Fall Prevention Falls are a significant cause of injury in those with osteoporosis, and for this reason most doctors recommend stringent measures to prevent injuries due to falls. These types of treatments will range from assistive devices like canes or walkers to home alterations, such as railings in the bathtub.

If you believe that you may be starting to experience the effects of osteoporosis, or you have yet to see your doctor to have a talk about menopause and bone density changes, you may want to make an appointment soon. Waiting until an arm or another bone breaks due to bone loss is too late; it’s best to tackle osteoporosis head-on to maintain as healthy a body as possible.

Meriel Anderson is a natural health expert and a blogger who has written a number of articles about menopause treatment and how to manage the physiological changes that come with menopause. She thanks you for taking the time to read her post and wishes you the best of health!

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Eat Prunes For Postmenopausal Bone Health

Aspen Summer Trees © lynette sheppard

“Ick! I’m not eating those!” I told my grandmother. “I’ll eat them,” crowed  my little brother, human garbage receptacle and eternal suckup. “They’re just giant raisins.” When we were kids visiting Grandma, she always served us prunes for breakfast. She claimed they were “good for us.”

Turns out Grandma is the one who should have been eating them. Recent research reveals that prunes (or as they are now more politically correctly named “dried plums”) prevent osteoporosis and promote healthy bones.

A group of researchers from Florida State and Oklahoma State University conducted a study using two groups of postmenopausal women. Over a 12-month period, the first group of 55 women, was instructed to consume 100 grams of dried plums (about 10 prunes) each day, while the second  control group of 45 women — was told to consume 100 grams of dried apples. All of the study’s participants also received daily doses of calcium (500 milligrams) and vitamin D (400 international units).
The group that consumed dried plums had significantly higher bone mineral density in the ulna (one of two long bones in the forearm) and spine, when compared with the control group that ate dried apples. This, according to researchers, was due in part to the ability of dried plums to suppress the rate of bone resorption, or the breakdown of bone, which tends to exceed the rate of new bone growth as people age.
“Over my career, I have tested numerous fruits, including figs, dates, strawberries and raisins, and none of them come anywhere close to having the effect on bone density that dried plums, or prunes, have,” said Bahram H. Arjmandi, Florida State’s Margaret A. Sitton Professor and chairman of the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences in the College of Human Sciences. “All fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on nutrition, but in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional.”

“Women can lose up to 20% of their bone density in the 5 to 7 years after menopause, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. And here might be a remedy without side effects save a little more regularity? I’m game.

So I’m off to the grocery store to buy a bunch of prunes…er dried plums. I think I could grow to like them. If not, I can always ship them off to lil bro.

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Menopause Research Study: Call for Participation

I’ve frequently jumped upon my soapbox and railed at the dearth of research on Menopause. Now here’s a chance for Hawai`i Menopause Goddesses to potentially be a part of the solution.

Dear friend and sister goddess Dee Adams of  Minnie Pauz fame sent me this info on a study being conducted in Honolulu, Hawai`i. (BTW, if you haven’t checked out her hilarious, poignant cartoons on the Pause, you must click here.)

Here’s the request from the research company:
Covance Clinical Research Study Opportunity

Healthy?  Past Menopause
Generations of women have helped test investigational medications by participating in clinical research studies.  You could help too.
To qualify for research study  8232-584 involving an investigational medication you must be:

– A healthy postmenopausal woman
– Able to stay at Covance for 2 nights / 3 days and make 22 outpatient visits

Participants will receive all study-related exams at no cost and compensation $3750 for time and participation.
Think you can help? Great!  Then call 808-441-6327 (808-441-6361 for Japanese speakers), Text ALOHA to 77982 or visit TestWithTheBest.com today.

Please call 808-441-6327 (808-441-6361 for Japanese speakers), immediately for details.

Please consider getting involved, or, tell a friend who might want to participate for the first time (learn more about our referral program at www.testwiththebest.com)
We welcome and appreciate your involvement in clinical research.  To all our participants past, present and future, Thank You!
Sincerely,
Covance Clinical Research Unit

Of course, Menopause Goddesses don’t take much at face value (especially those of us of the Registered Nurse persuasion.) So I called these folks to find out just what they are testing. Because I would be compelled to add my two cents if this study were about antidepressants as a cure for the Pause or some other such “elephant gun to kill flies” strategy.

They are testing an osteoporosis medication, it turns out. Fair enough. They could not give me the other studies that have been done, potential side effects, or any other info “over the phone.” However, they did say that if I came in for screening, they could tell me any and all of this information. Sadly, though I am only 30 miles away, it might as well be 3000, since those miles are open ocean.

So if you should decide to participate, be sure to ask about previous studies and results, potential side effects and benefits, and so on. Read that investigational consent form carefully and thoroughly before signing on the dotted line.

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